A Romantic Date with a Serial Killer, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, Online Exclusives, Phillip Berg, The Romantic Killer

Incorporating creative programming and alternative venues, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is the latest addition to the film festival circuit. To celebrate the launch of ASFF, we are running a series of interviews with the filmmakers throughout October. Here you can find out more about what motivates our filmmakers, and ASFF will give you the opportunity to experience their short films first hand. To watch these films, visit the Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) website to purchase your ticket. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience short film in the historic city of York.

Phillip Berg, Director, Producer & Writer of The Romantic Killer spoke to us about his expectations of the festival, and his disinterest in kitchen sink drama. Set in Copenhagen, The Romantic Killer follows a serial killer on a romantic date. The plan is like always – to seduce and kill the victim. But perhaps this time it will turn out differently?

You can see The Romantic Killer in the following venues during ASFF:
Friday 4 November: City Screen Basement Bar 11:00 – 12:00
Saturday 5 November: City Screen Basement Bar 16:00 – 17:00
Sunday 6 November: City Screen Basement Bar 16:00 – 17:00

Firstly, congratulations on being in the Official ASFF Selection! What impact do you think this screening will have on your career?

Thank you very much. I am honoured. Hopefully the screening will have an impact on the audience and leave them with the feeling of having seen something unique and interesting. Making this film really have given me the drive to continue my career as a film maker, and hopefully this screening will have an impact and give new possibilities for networking. I am always intrigued to meet other talented film makers ambitions.

How do you describe your work? Do you see it falling into the genre of Thriller?

I’m not sure. I would like to think that my approach to film-making is unique. I am not interested in what you call ‘kitchen-sink drama’, nor am I interested in social realism. I am a genre director with a love for mysteries and ‘whodunits’. This is a genre geared towards the audience, placing them in side a puzzle and forcing them to guess how the story will end before it finishes. The key to these films is that the end must be a surprise whilst also remaining inevitable, a delicate but fun balance to create. For me, the genre is directly linked to literature from writers like Raymond Chandler and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Could you tell me a little about the film and how it came about?

For years I had the idea that it could be interesting do do a film with a serial killer on a romantic date. I imagined that it would create good tension, and combined with great imagery it would make for a fun cocktail. The only thing that was not clear for me was the ending, so years passed by and nothing happened. Then one day a light-bulb flashed inside my head and I got the idea for the ending. A day after I had written the script and started development.

What were some of the challenges involved in making the film?

Since there wasn’t really a budget and I paid for the whole thing myself, it was quite a challenge to put the whole thing together and gather a crew. The timing and location scouting were the biggest challenges, beacause when there is no budget we had to find days where people could get off their normal day job and meet for the shooting. There was a three month gap between the casting and the first shot.

The film is shot in Denmark on various locations around the Copenhagen area and to find a house or apartment in the Copenhagen area with the personality we needed for this film proved to be really difficult. I discovered that almost all Danish people apparently live in white walled Ikea furnished homes, and that was not what we were looking for at all! After the shooting I waited two months on a Editor that had promised to edit the film. I finally got tired of waiting and edited it myself, even though I believe that Directors should never edit their own films.

All in all these obstacles is the reason why the film was a year in the making from script to finished result.

What is your all time favourite short?

That’s a hard questions as I have a lot of favourites. It all depends on my mood. One of my favourites is an animated short film by Tim Burton called Vincent that he directed back in 1982. It is narrated by Vincent Price.

What are you working on next?

I am currently developing a horror short film in cooperation with a very talented script writer (Darin Mercado). The story is based in the mid 1800s and is a “whodunit”. A man wakes up in his bed that is covered in blood and his beloved wife is gone. A blood trail is dragged through the hallways of the dark castle and meanwhile he follows the trail he tries to overcome his immense fear of what he might find on the other end of the trail. The film is called: The Trail.


The Aesthetica Short Film Festival is the first film festival ever to be hosted in the historic city of York. The festival is a celebration of independent film from across the world with 150 films being screened from 30 countries. ASFF opens 3 November and continues until 6 November. For tickets and further information visit the website www.asff.co.uk or call (+44) (0) 1904 629 137.